Update: In their press conference, both Foley and McPhee were extremely complimentary of McCrimmon, both the hockey professional and the man. McPhee referred to McCrimmon as a "salt of the Earth guy". As it turns out McCrimmon was in charge of relations with 15 NHL teams throughout the past two seasons, with McPhee taking the other 15, as they "co-managed" the team. A main takeaway of the press conference was that essentially, not much is expected to change in the front office with McCrimmon's promotion. McPhee added, "I was thinking how we could keep the band together and I thought if we promote Kelly to GM, we can continue to work the way we've worked; this could be a really good thing for the organization."
This morning, the Vegas Golden Knights announced some personnel changes, set to take place on September 1. Current General Manager George McPhee will step aside as GM, making way for Kelly McCrimmon, their current-assistant GM. McPhee will continue to hold the title of President of Hockey Operations for the club, a title normally held by GMs around the NHL. Never one to shy away from being different, the Golden Knights will move forward with two men holding those titles as opposed to one. McCrimmon will be taking over at the tail-end of what is expected to be a tough off-season for the Golden Knights, due to a cap crunch we touched on earlier this week.
This off-season will be a tricky one for General Manager George McPhee, the man at the helm of the Vegas Golden Knights. While the players and coaching staff get some well-deserved rest, McPhee will be hard at work with his advisory team, crunching numbers and making tough personnel decisions.
It has been rumored that McCrimmon was one of the top candidates for the GM position for the prospective Seattle expansion club, but the Golden Knights did not want to lose their guy. He has been an integral part of the Golden Knights' expansion process and reportedly played a large role in the acquisition and extension of Mark Stone during this past season's trade deadline.
Announcing the move this morning via a Press Release, the club had nothing but good things to say about McCrimmon. "Kelly has been a tremendous addition to our hockey operations group and the entire Vegas Golden Knights organization as a whole", said McPhee. "His character, leadership, hockey acumen, and player evaluation at both the pro and amateur levels is exceptional. We are confident Kelly will thrive in this new role. We will continue to build a team and a franchise that our fans are proud to support."
McPhee has had tons of success as a GM (USA Today Sports)
It is a bit shocking to see McPhee stepping out of the role of GM, but this speaks volumes to their desire to retain McCrimmon. McPhee has done a great job building the current club, with the help of McCrimmon. A front-office personnel change, heading into their third season, comes as a bit of a shock. McCrimmon's experience is vast throughout the Western Hockey League, serving as a former player, coach, and GM. McCrimmon will now be able to add NHL General Manager to his long hockey resumé.
A press conference featuring owner Bill Foley, McPhee, and McCrimmon will be held on Thursday afternoon, announcing the change. This story will be developing over the next few days, as more information is made available by the team.